Pinterest is an odd duck. It’s a very particular internet microcosm and from the outside, it can seem like nothing at all. I always thought it was sort of substantless. I don’t even own a photo album (virtual or otherwise), what would I ever want with a Pinterest account? I only got interested in the platform when my deep love of anime fan art got to the point where keeping them all in a folder on my desktop seemed unpractical since I never took the time to admire them. The Pinterest layout was better for that and for a while that’s all it was. Just my personal fanart folder.

nothing wrong with an extra fan art folder!

Eventually, I decided to keep my screencaps there. I figured if anything ever happened to my blog, at least I would have my pretty pictures. Then my screencap issues spiralled mildly out of control (my autocorrect wanted to change “mildly” for “wildly”. Judgy!!) and I started using it as a complement to the blog. I can’t just cram 100 pictures in every review after all. 200+ for the purdy shows. Then I discovered Imgur and found it it would be easier for you guys to download high res caps from there so I started using that as my extended gallery

I kept my Pinterest though. And kept adding the caps there as well. There’s just something about the way images are presented on a board that speaks to me. You can really get an overall view. It’s not just individual scrolling pictures like Imgur, it’s, well, boards.

My Pinterest is pretty basic. I have boards for individual anime I am likely to be collecting a lot of fanart from, or that I am reviewing episodically and therefore have a particularly large amount of caps for. I also have an anime review board with sections for individual series. I started out with a board called “anime I like” which is essentially a miscellaneous as well.

Lately, though, I’ve developed something of a hobby. For someone like me that gets weird satisfaction out of sorting out and organizing things, Pinterest offers a lot of opportunities. I once did a collab with the wonderful Jordanne from Bloodthirsty Little Beasts and she thought me that you can create thematic boards. Boards that essentially tell a story through unrelated images. I’m not quite there yet. I like to think of that as Pinterest advanced! I am striving for it.

In the meantime, I’ve started a few more general boards. Anime boys and girls were the two first not so strictly categorized boards. They were just created so I would have a spot for the cute character portraits came across, that weren’t necessarily from a show I had seen (or any show for that matter).

There’s nothing special about these boards. I think  90% of Pinterest users have something similar. Just cause it isn’t original doesn’t mean it’s not fun. There’s something almost therapeutic about coming home after a long day and getting lost in a sea of beautiful anime charas. It’s cheaper than booze too.

Slowly though I branched out into just slightly more unusual but nearly, territory. Anime food. I have had a long-standing interest in anime food and often go out of my way to get screencaps of yummy looking dishes whenever they feature in something I’m watching. Kakuriyo Bed and Breakfast for Spirits was a goldmine in that regard. It’s really fun to see different artistic interpretations of the same dish. I know I m not the only one with this inclination. Since creating the board I’ve discovered a lot of similar ones on Pinterest.

That’s the thing, once you get just a bit more unusual, you can easily find people with similar image interests as you. The platform is not very interactive in any way but it is well geared towards finding the images you’re looking for. As a way to form an extremely vague connection with someone you never have to interact with, it’s pretty good.

The next board I made because it seemed silly that I hadn’t already made it was Anime drunks. I was surprised just how few pins I had for this board. Clearly, I should get on it and make more of an effort to find my fellow animated boozehounds. You know, with summer coming back, I’ve been drinking less. Pretty soon people will be calling me a fake drunk and they’ll be right! This is embarrassing.

So far these were fun Little collections without much more to them. But it’s a bit different with the two last boards I created. At first glance, they’re really not that different, in fact, I didn’t realize they would be special in any way when I created them but now, they’ve opened my eyes to the potential of Pinterest.

The first of these boards is Animescapes. This is where I keep screen caps of landscapes, backgrounds and buildings. Because these backgrounds are primarily screencaps I’ve taken myself across many different shows, rather than fanart, and thanks to Pinterest’s big picture layout, it becomes very easy to compare the images. I’ve started to pick up on trends in the background colouring of shows and the framing if buildings for example.

It’s brought to my attention certain details and visual elements I would never have noticed while watching the show. And even going back over screencaps I’ve taken, there are things that only become obvious when you can see them all together. It gives you a visual sense of the space in which anime exist.

This has become a bit of a low key obsession. I go back over episodes and try to capture as many backgrounds as possible. Preferably shown at different times of the day or in different seasons. I compare Sakuras and full moons. I try to see the imagery that comes up most often but we may have missed cause our brains are trained to follow the action. I’ve gotten a few post ideas from there and they are some of my favourites.

I don’t have enough backgrounds to do any in-depth analysis yet. Eventually, I think I might subdivide this board. Cityscapes, rural landscapes, interiors, that sort of thing.  I’ve noticed anime has a lot of wooden interiors even though these have become much less popular in real life. I wonder if they are easier to illustrate…

The last board I created is anime eyes. I really don’t know why it took me so long. I have always loved the expressive nature of Anime eyes and some of you may have noticed that close-ups of characters’ eyes are frequent in my screen caps. Unlike the landscapes, I pay close attention to eyes while I’m watching a show. Too close maybe. I entangled the expression with everything else that’s happening. And that’s fine, it’s how you’re supposed to watch a show I figure.

However, being able to go back to those images stripped of context gives me a whole new appreciation of just how much can be conveyed in a single frame. And you can see from one show to the next, one face to the next, how simple changes in line shape or thickness can really affect the impression an image leaves. I love that about animation. This is part of what I enjoy of the medium over live action.

And Pinterest of all things has brought that out in a way that I can really appreciate it. I hope that in the future I will learn to use the platform better and create some truly interesting boards.

Do you have a Pinterest? If so, how do you use it?


26 thoughts

  1. Just really learning to use Pinterest, so really found this all fascinating & useful, though I just do reg pics; loved your line, “thematic boards. Boards that essentially tell a story through unrelated images” – had never crossed my mind either! Thanks so much! 😊

  2. I guess I don’t consider my anime screenshots important enough to save. I used to keep everything locally but then I ended up with gigabytes in dozens of folders. It just wasn’t worth the space.

    I think of blog posts as ephemeral things. Someday they will disappear and I won’t mind. Maybe I’ll make new posts or maybe not.

    I don’t consider any offsite storage to be safe enough for anything important.

    1. My caps aren’t important at all but I do love being able to get a visual overview of episodes or entire series. I think I may be the only one. It has really opened my eyes to production and design elements and I’ grateful for that

  3. Technical question – do you use anything to automatically pin your images from your posts or is it a manual task.

    I have a plug-in that makes all my images pinable with a little icon that appears when you hover over the image and that’s how I pin my images. I’d like to do it automatically, but then I think I would still need to reorganize them into boards so might as well do it myself to begin with.

  4. I have a pinterest according to my phone, I mostly use it to get character art for the D&D games I run.Also to search Fakemon (fan-created pokemon) I dont keep boards yet mostly because I never really looked into it much.
    Your bit about backgrounds however has inspired me it might be need to do so. You are the first one to get me hyped for it. Also since I am just starting out here I just had to say ‘ you are very eloquent for a drunk!’

  5. Very interesting way to use Pinterest! I only use it to post one screen cap every time I have a new blog post. I wish I could also be creative with my boards…

  6. Well, you learn something new every day. I don’t have a pin interest account because erm…🙈🙈 I didn’t really know what it was. I just thought it was another social media platform, and with both Instagram and Twitter, I thought that was pretty much enough. But well, after reading this it’s much more clear. Might go on it at some point, but at least I now finally know what it is. So…thank you! 😊

  7. I’ve never really “got” Pinterest, as it’s one of those platforms that, like Tumblr, I just didn’t really see the value in. I think this is the first post I’ve read that actually makes its appeal vaguely understandable!

  8. Now that you mentioned that observation about wooden interiors in anime, I’m guessing it has to do with the zen/nature Japanese aesthetic.

    I do have a Pinterest but I don’t always use it. I made an account to look at cosplay tutorial pins and when I used to work at a summer camp and needed ideas to teach my own art and crafts class for young kids.

    I did look at it recently and am pinning tips and resources I found on learning Japanese and other languages. I’m thinking of creating another account for my blog and using it as another promotional space or posting my own creative things on it.

    1. It’s not a bad way to reach people. Pinterest comes up a lot on google image searches as well

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